Monthly Archives: October 2011

Indie Bound!

As I wrote in my last post, I’m really thinking about what it takes to be an individual in an increasingly homogenized world.  Evidence would suggest I’m not the only one (“People say I’m a dreamer…”).  So, although I don’t live in a place that has an Occupy Wall Street protest, or that would have any impact if it did (local population around 3000), I will be striking my own small blow against our current corporate culture by doing my best to support local, independent businesses.  I already bank at a locally-owned institution, shop at a locally-owned grocery store, and frequent as many main-street businesses as I can.  This year, however, I’m going to try even harder.  Sorry, Wal-Mart–I have forsaken you.

By far my favorite local enterprise to support, however, is my fantastic local independent bookstore, Beagle Books.  Jen Geraedts and Sally Wizik Wills, who own and manage the store (as well as the equally wonderful Sister Wolf Books, open only in the summer) have done an amazing job of promoting my book and supporting me as a writer.  I am truly indebted. 

Now, for the first time, it is possible for people to buy Breaking the Glass online from Beagle Books (or from your favorite independent bookstore) through IndieBound  which is “a community-oriented movement begun by the independent bookseller members of the American Booksellers Association. It brings together booksellers, readers, indie retailers, local business alliances, and anyone else with a passionate belief that healthy local economies help communities thrive. Supporting local, indie businesses means that dollars, jobs, diversity, choice, and taxes stay local, creating strong, unique communities and happy citizens.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  As we begin the march toward our busiest consumer season, please join me in doing your best to support local independent businesses with your words and your dollars.

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P.S.  Buying Breaking the Glass directly from the publisher, Loonfeather Press, using this order form  is still a great way to get the book and support a local independent small press. However, I wanted people to have an online buying option, too.

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The Week of Outliers

I’ve been thinking a lot about “outliers” this week.  Malcolm Gladwell had a bestseller by that title, and said about it,   “I’m interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.”

There have been several outliers in the news this week:  Steve Jobs, whose untimely death will rob us of whatever new, world-transforming technology he might have come up with; Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner, who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; and Tomas Transtromer, who was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature, after having been criticized early in his career for being “not political enough.”

What is it that made these people, and others like them, willing to overcome their fear, their need to conform and their apathy, to do something, be something, say something?

The Occupy Wall Street protesters inspire me, as well.  Yes, some of them are not very well informed.  Yes, some of them are not dressed very professionally.  But aren’t they saying something you’d like to say?  Are they saying anything you haven’t said in your living room, away from the threat of handcuffs and billy clubs, and pepper spray?  Is it so beyond the pale to say that it’s wrong for oil companies and health insurers to have made record profits in the last three years, when those are the two areas where most Americans have felt most financially assaulted?  Shouldn’t banks and large corporations have to obey the law, and also obey the spirit of the law, not find ways to subvert and circumvent it?  Is it right that one percent of the US population holds 40% of our wealth, or that we’re not raising taxes on the wealthiest among us, even as they ask us to?

This week I encourage all of us, myself included, to connect with our inner outlier.  Whatever you do, however large or small a blow you make against group-think, and sameness, and timidity in the face of difference, make sure it is your act, and your thought, and your voice.

Quote for the week:  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.      –Steve Jobs

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